Interspecific crossing is a promising approach for introgression of valuable traits to develop cultivars with improved characteristics. Allium fistulosum L. possesses numerous pest resistances that are lacking in the bulb onion (Allium cepa L.), including resistance to Stemphylium leaf blight (SLB). Advanced generations were produced by selfing and backcrossing to bulb onions of interspecific hybrids between A. cepa and A. fistulosum that showed resistance to SLB. Molecular classification of the cytoplasm established that all generations possessed normal (N) male-fertile cytoplasm of bulb onions. Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) was used to study the chromosomal composition of the advanced generations and showed that most plants were allotetraploids possessing the complete diploid sets of both parental species. Because artificial doubling of chromosomes of the interspecific hybrids was not used, spontaneous polyploidization likely resulted from restitution gametes or somatic doubling. Recombinant chromosomes between A. cepa and A. fistulosum were identified, revealing that introgression of disease resistances to bulb onion should be possible.
Keywords: Allium cepa; Allium fistulosum; Genomic in situ hybridization (GISH); cytoplasm; polyploidization; recombination.